I’m fighting a cold and the holidays kept me busy, so this week we have a mini-Carnival:
Macri wants to rally the country around the old (loser) cause: Argentina’s new government says it will press claims to Falkland Islands. Buenos Aires demands talks over future of disputed territory dashing hopes that Mauricio Macri will offer more conciliatory approach than Cristina Kirchner. The Junta, the Kirchners, and now Macri.
When do we get to call it a depression? Brazil Heads for Worst Recession Since 1901, Economists Forecast
— PanAm Post (@PanAmPost) December 31, 2015
El ‘policía del año’ en Texas era miembro del cártel más peligroso de México. Un policía del Departamento de Houston que fue nombrado como el mejor agente del año suministró armas y vehículos al cártel de Los Zetas desde 2006.
— PolicethePoliceACP (@PolicePoliceACP) January 1, 2016
While there are five states with significant challenges (Illinois, Connecticut, Hawaii, New Jersey, and Kentucky) , the majority of states have debt service-to-revenue ratios that are more manageable.
Venezuela Supreme Court blocks opposition’s parliamentary super-majority in ‘judicial coup’. Judges granted government request to suspend three parliamentarians due to take office next week – taking opposition below two-thirds majority needed to unpick Nicolas Maduro’s grip on power
— Prof. Steve Hanke (@steve_hanke) January 2, 2016
Mauricio Macri was inaugurated last Thursday as Argentina’s new president. Having created ‘as many problems as possible for the new government’ and behaving as petulantly as usual, Cristina Fernandez skipped the festivities.
If you work for MTV and are planning a helicopter trip, you may want to reconsider.
Las Valkyrias de Bolivia – the women wrestlers of La Paz (I posted on the cholitas a few years ago).
Brazil Senator Sees 2016 Budget Plan With No Primary Surplus. The Brazilian budget proposal for 2016, which could get its final vote in Congress as early as next week, will probably have a fiscal target lower than Finance Minister Joaquim Levy has called for, a senator involved in the budget discussions said.
Police on Friday arrested former conscript to Guillermo Reyes Rammsy, identifying him as the man who made an emotional 25-minute call to a radio program this week. A judge placed him under house arrest.
Moody’s Reaffirms Cuba’s Credit Rating but Changes Outlook to Positive. As the church lady put it,
Forced to Flee Dominican Republic for Haiti, Migrants Land in Limbo
Mexican cartel boss ‘El Chapo’ spent heavily to escape maximum security jail, thereby giving new meaning to “the price of freedom”.
Puerto Rico Governor: We Won’t Make It to 2016 without Bankruptcy. Island Bigwigs Dismiss Concerns over Waste, Seek DC Approval for “Restructuring”. Capt. Louis could have been Puerto Rican,
Quitting before you start. Two Chavista assembly-members elect have already said they won’t take on the seats they were elected for less than a week ago, preferring their old mayor’s jobs. More may follow.
Not by a long shot, Election loss does not mean the end of socialist Venezuela
En Venezuela ganó otra vez el castrocomunismo. Lo único cierto es que Venezuela seguirá subyugada a los Castro durante muchos años más y seguirá como trinchera continental del par de sátrapas asesinos que buscan desde allí seguir intoxicando a Latinoamérica con la ideología criminal del marxismo
The big news of the week: Venezuela is issuing passports, voter registrations, to Hezbollah and Syrians – actual, authentically government-issued yet fraudulent passports and voter registrations.
Housecleaning: “Mysterious” Fire Hits Argentine Ministry Of Finance, Destroys Years Of Prior Regime’s Files
Head of Brazil’s Largest Investment Bank and a Senator Arrested in Petrobras Probe. Brazil’s federal police arrested André Esteves, the CEO of Brazil’s largest investment bank, and Sen. Delcidio do Amaral, of the ruling Workers’ Party, in a widening of the Petrobras probe.
Vale Acknowledges Toxic Waste in River. Brazilian miner Vale acknowledged for the first time the presence of toxic elements in river water following the disastrous failure of a dam at its Samarco joint venture, two days after a critical U.N. report.
Police Seize over 600 Kilos of Cocaine in Southwestern Colombia, presumably from the FARC.
Falkland Islanders celebrate demise of the ‘Botox Queen’ Cristina Kirchner and welcome new president Mauricio Macri. The election of Mauricio Macri to succeed Cristina Kirchner is likely to see Argentina present a friendlier face
Focusing on Latin America Is Essential in 2016
What did I tell you? $50bn Nicaragua canal postponed as Chinese tycoon’s fortunes falter. Environments concerns and Chinese stock market woes mean world’s biggest canal project will not begin for at least another year
- The country’s opposition reports five attacks, two at gunpoint, against its candidates
- Lilian Tintori, wife of imprisoned leader Leopoldo López, says her life is in danger
The week’s top story everywhere: Pres. Obama declared Isis had been contained on the same day ISIS suicide bombers killed at least 41 people in Beirut, Lebanon. The following day, ISIS claimed responsibility for 128 deaths on a coordinated attack perpetrated on an unarmed citizenry in Paris.
A headline that was mostly ignored, but will have dire repercussions in our hemisphere. Abandoning Past Assurances, U.S. Accepts Iran’s Arming of Hezbollah.
Argentine Government Slams High Court for Ordering Disclosure of YPF-Chevron Deal for the development of the giant Vaca Muerta shale formation.
Brazil Court Orders Retirement of Judge in Eike Batista Trial. A Brazilian appeals court Thursday ordered the early retirement of the federal judge who had been presiding over the trial of Brazilian businessman Eike Batista.
They do not come because Brazil needlessly puts up additional roadblocks. Its legislation on immigration is “anachronistic”, admits Beto Vasconcelos, who handles the issue at the justice ministry in Brasília. The main law dealing with immigration, enacted by generals who ruled from 1964 to 1985, treats foreigners as a menace to national security and to Brazilian workers. It bars non-Brazilians from taking part in political rallies, owning stakes in newspapers or participating actively in trade unions.
The FARC are not disarming: Colombia’s rebels want peace, but fear giving up their guns
Murder rate increases sharply in El Salvador
During the first 10 months of 2015, El Salvador — a country with a population of 6.5 million — reported nearly 5,500 homicides, making it the murder capital of the world, according to Elizabeth Kennedy, a San Diego State University social scientist.
Honduras Indians’ land being seized by drug gangs and settlers, UN official says. Special rapporteur on indigenous rights finds land invasions and deforestation. Miskitos and other groups demand government help in remote region
Mexico’s Teachers Gird for Mandatory Performance Tests. This weekend the first of Mexico’s 1.4 million teachers will start taking performance tests, a core feature of President Enrique Peña Nieto’s education overhaul that has engendered some violent protests.
During a meeting with government officials last month, Merhi Alshebli doused himself with gasoline. He did not light himself on fire. Alshebli and other Syrian refugees resettled in Uruguay last year have complained that the government hasn’t helped enough.
Venezuelan president criticises ‘imperialist ambushes’ after two relatives arrested by US for drug trafficking. Franqui Flores de Freitas and Efrain Campo Flores, family of Nicolas Maduro’s wife, appeared before a New York court on drug trafficking charges on Thursday and were remanded in custody
Twice a year we endure the change from standard to daylight saving time; I wish it would stop. Here’s the first Carnival of the month.
Argentine Kingmaker Sergio Massa Spurns Kirchner Ally in Presidential Runoff. Dissident Peronist politician who ran third in first round withholds support for Daniel Scioli. Has not yet directly endorsed Macri.
Argentina notebook: Passion and politics in the Paris of the South. Bohemian Buenos Aires is buzzing with election fever, writes Harriet Alexander. And in this most intriguing of cities, things can change in an instant – and nothing is quite what it seems. I’ve to Paris, and I’ve been to Buenos Aires. Buenos Aires is no Paris.
imprisoned Colombian drug trafficker Henry de Jesus Lopez, alias “Mi Sangre,” has come forward claiming to have information on the case. With only a month until the run-off, any new information linking the Kirchner administration to Nisman’s death could hurt Scioli by association.
Mi Sangre (My Blood) is trying to avoid deportation to the US by claiming that then-Intelligence chief Stiusso took over the cartel’s surveillance equipment, and gave it to Nisman, who used it for wiretapping members of the government.
So on the one hand the government alleges that Nisman had American and Israeli backers that made him rich; now this Mi Sangre guy tries to avoid deportation by saying that Stiusso stole surveillance equipment because Nisman couldn’t afford it.
Brazil’s Federal Police to Question Son of Former President. Brazil’s Federal Police will question Luis Claudio Lula da Silva, one of the sons of the country’s former president, as part of an investigation into whether companies bribed Brazilian tax officials.
Oopsie, Chile seizes erotic book from schools. The Chilean government begins seizing copies of an erotic version of the classic fairytale that was mistakenly distributed to 283 primary schools. Little Red Riding Hood Eats the Wolf?
There are still many loose ends. The ELN, a smaller guerrilla group, is not making peace. Many FARC leaders seem far from becoming democrats. The government must act fast to organise international monitoring of the FARC’s disarmament, to provide security in areas where the conflict has been most intense and to promote rural development so that ex-guerrillas can find jobs. Cutting the flow of drug money that funds the FARC is also important—though, as long as cocaine is illegal around the world, the trade will remain so profitable that this will be hard. Colombia must avoid what happened after civil wars in Central America in the 1980s and 1990s, where peace led to an explosion of violent crime. In all this it will need the understanding and support of the outside world.
A new poll shows that, despite public support for a peace deal with the FARC terrorist group, a significant portion of the population of Colombia remains uncomfortable with the idea of FARC terrorists abandoning the guerrilla lifestyle and settling into civilian life.
Why are There No Gangs in Berlin, El Salvador?
A complex of ancient Inca platforms, a storeroom and a ceremonial court were unearthed while maintenance and preservation works were underway at Ollantaytambo archaeological park in the southern Peruvian region of Cuzco, officials said.
U.S. to clean one of Puerto Rico’s worst polluted waterways. Let’s hope the locals stop using it as a dump.
Venezuelan President Says He Will Sue U.S. Nicolás Maduro said he would file suit against the Obama administration in a bid to lift an executive order declaring the South American country an extraordinary threat to U.S. national security.
Venezuela is running out of cash and selling its gold. It looks like Putin’s not taking charge cards for payment of those 12 Sukhoi-30s.
To the extent that it has an ideology it is a vague blend of nationalism and labourism, expressed in the PJ’s founding “three banners” of political sovereignty, economic independence and social justice.
Power as an end in itself,
Rather than ideas, Peronism embodies a consistent set of political emotions and practices. Perón declared in 1951: “The masses don’t think, the masses feel and they have more or less intuitive and organised reactions. Who produces those reactions? Their leader.” His second wife, Eva Duarte, touched the hearts of the masses. Ms Fernández has proved to be an accomplished disciple: she has ruthlessly pursued popularity by postponing inevitable economic belt-tightening, by exploiting her widowhood and by associating herself with Pope Francis, an Argentine who has Peronist roots.
However, on Thursday he resigned from the commission citing his disappointment in the transitional justice deal which he claims was “the biggest concession achieved by the FARC after the acceptance of drug-trafficking as a crime connected to their ideals.”
Haiti, Dominican Republic to reopen talks on migration, trade disputes. The presidents of Haiti and the Dominican Republic have agreed to resume talks to resolve disputes on migration and trade. Relations between the neighbors on the island of Hispaniola have been strained.
But with an unfriendly business environment, Correa may find it hard to entice the private sector to pick up the slack.
In August alone there were 911 murders – an average of nearly 30 a day.
In one incident, 14 members of one of the country’s most powerful street gangs were killed in a prison.
The dead were said to have belonged to ‘Barrio 18’ gang ‘Faccion Revolucionarios’, or Revolutionaries’ Faction.
Normally at war with rival gang ‘Mara Salvatrucha’, an internal power struggle between Revolucionarios and Surenos (Southerners) has seen the violence – and death toll – soar.
A multi-volume chronology and reference guide set detailing three years of the Mexican Drug War between 2010 and 2012.
Why Does Argentina Keep Shielding Iran?
Following the mysterious death of a prosecutor who had indicted Mrs. Fernandez on conspiracy charges, Francis in January stepped in forcefully to keep the president from being deposed in a “soft coup,” The Washington Times learned from a close personal friend of the pope.
Local magnates had plotted to seize the moment and oust the president after Alberto Nisman was found with a gunshot wound to his head hours before he was due to testify on a supposed top-level cover-up of Iran’s suspected involvement in the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires.
But through calls and intermediaries, Francis persuaded “the right people at the right moment” to let Mrs. Fernandez serve our her second term, set to expire Dec. 10, Gustavo Vera, a Buenos Aires legislator and social activist who maintains a close friendship with the former Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, said.
Cristina stops by the Vatican frequently, and has had six private audiences with Francis.
Rosatom will assist in the establishment of a nuclear research institute, including training for staff, Energy Minister Luis Sanchez said from Moscow in comments reported by official news agency ABI.
The pact also anticipates that Rosatom will advise the Bolivian government on how to educate the population about the nuclear power initiative, seen as necessary in light of the rejection by residents of La Paz of plans to build a nuclear research center in their neighborhood.
Besides power generation, Bolivia will use peaceful nuclear technology for medical applications and devices employed in geological research and prospecting for oil and gas, the minister said.
Pope Francis angers victims of sex abuse after calling protesters ‘dumb’. Pope made remarks at Vatican to a group of Chileans who have been protesting against a bishop alleged to be complicit in a sex abuse scandal
“War is Peace; Freedom is Slavery; Ignorance is Strength;” Uribe loyalists are Colombia’s ‘new terrorists’: Senate peace commission chairman
The indictment charged Jaime Rolando Rosenthal Oliva; his son Yani Benjamin Rosenthal Hidalgo; and his nephew Yankel Antonio Rosenthal Coello.
Good luck with that: Mexico’s President to Propose Bill to Improve Efforts to Locate 25,000 Missing. Legislation aims to improve coordination between authorities in search for people missing since war on drugs began
Just like their counterparts at the central bank, Peruvian government officials are finding that some of the usual ways to propel a developing economy don’t work in this case. In particular, Peru cannot take the common step of expanding its industrial sector to export value-added products rather than raw materials because of globalized value chains and an oversupply of industrial facilities in China, said Piero Ghezzi, Peru’s minister of production.
Puerto Rico May Not Be Able to Avoid Defaults, Adviser Says. I am shocked, shocked!
Starting on September 19th, Pope Francis will be traveling to Cuba and the U.S.. The Communist regime’s propaganda machine announced it will be releasing 3,522 prison inmates, none of which is a dissident;
The latest 3,522 prisoners to be freed will include minors, people over the age of 60, prisoners in poor health and foreigners who will be repatriated, according to the Granma newspaper. It said there will be no releases of those convicted of “crimes against state security”.
— ISEPTAPHILLY (@SEPTAPHILLY) September 2, 2015
An Argentine court on Tuesday ordered the electoral board of the northern province of Tucuman not to declare any winner in the Aug. 23 gubernatorial election until a move to have the ballot overturned is resolved.
Jorge Lanata’s investigation showed votes bought with drugs (video in Spanish):
Brazilian Police Seek to Question Former President in Petrobras Probe. Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and his ruling Workers’ Party ‘could have benefited,’ authorities say. An understatement if there ever was one.
Brazil to Auction Hydroelectric Plants. Brazil plans to auction off 29 power plants to private operators Oct. 30, a government official said, a move that is expected to bring the cash-strapped government about $4.4 billion.
Down to BB+: S&P Cuts Brazil’s Debt Rating to Junk. Brazil lost its coveted investment-grade credit rating in the eyes of one major firm on Wednesday, dealing a blow to the government’s credibility with investors and threatening to aggravate its economic downturn.
El Salvador baby-swap couple reunited with child
Guatemala Outsources a Corruption Crackdown.A U.N.-sponsored agency has put Guatemala’s president and much of its political elite behind bars, in one of the most sweeping anticorruption campaigns ever
The International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala, or Cicig, has broad powers to launch its own criminal investigations. It then works alongside Guatemala’s own attorney general’s office to prosecute cases in local courts. Its staff hails from 20 countries, from Italians who have tussled with the Mafia to Colombian anti-money-laundering experts.
Only 34 percent of U.S.-born Hispanics, and 33 percent of foreign-born Hispanics, want to increase legal immigration, said the Gallup report.
Sixty-four percent of each group of Hispanics want migration to be reduced or leveled, said Gallup, which released the report under a misleading headline, “U.S. Support for Increased Immigration Up to 25%.”
‘El Chapo’ Guzman escape: Mexican prison officials charged. Four Mexican officials have been charged with aiding the escape of the notorious drugs lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman from a maximum security prison.
New evidence has emerged suggesting ACA guerrilla rebels in Paraguay have reunited with their cousins in the EPP, likely marking the end of a tiny guerrilla organization that has suffered several casualties and arrests of top leaders since breaking away last year.
Puerto Rico Debt Crisis: A Bond Guide as Potential Defaults Loom, or, a brief guide to Russian roulette, money-wise?
[President Tabare] Vazquez said Uruguay has reached out to Lebanon because that’s where the refugees would like to go. Since Lebanon is not willing to welcome them, his government is asking the five Syrian families to choose another country.
Last February’s report on domestic abuse within one of the families (note that the 5 families are comprised of 80 people):
On Monday, September 7, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) issued a ruling ordering the Venezuela government to restore the network’s broadcasting license and return all seized assets.
The week’s posts and podcast:
9/11/2001: It is altogether fitting and proper
— Fausta (@Fausta) September 10, 2015